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  1. #1
    Senior Member Ozonation's Avatar
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    Thinking about three very different folders N+1

    As some of you know from my previous posts, I'm thinking of another folder to augment my Brompton when I don't need compactness (better wheels for harsher conditions, a bit more speed, etc.). I was fixated on the Dahon/mini-velo style (smallwheeler's thread is not helpful... ), but I've sort of settled on three options.

    1. Dahon Silvertip (mini-velo style). 20" wheels provide a bit more versatility; bit stiffer ride; still agile; decent price; fairly adaptable to standard parts (racks, etc.). However, not sure about long term integrity of lock jaw fold, and not overly convenient to fold (but not looking for fold as main point). Not sure how easy it is to pack for travel if I want to do some semi-serious riding at destination.

    2. Used Bike Friday (New World Tourist). 20" wheels; standard bike parts; seems most forgiving ride. However, still most expensive option even when used, and none available locally to check out.

    3. Older Dahon Jack or Tern Joe. 26" wheels - might be most usable in poorer weather or winter with the right tires; can fold in half easily when needed so offers some portability; should ride pretty much as a regular bike; decent price. However, wondering if the increased size makes folding all that critical. Ironically, less gearing or other choices. Not sure if a rear rack can be mounted. Trying to see if a Dahon Jack or Dahon Espresso is better.

    ... and I can't find any good review comparing the Dahon Jack against the Tern Joe.

    The primary use would be commuting (less than 15 minutes) and short errands, and if possible, occasional travel.

    Thoughts? Pros, cons? Not worth my time or money?
    Rivendell Sam Hillborne and Hunqapillar; Brompton M6R Sage Green; Salsa Mukluk 3 FAT Bike; Nerdy Academic; Nikonian; Wing Chun; and a Patridge in a Pear Tree.

  2. #2
    Senior Member smallwheeler's Avatar
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    Bike Friday. you'll never regret it.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Ozonation's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by smallwheeler View Post
    Bike Friday. you'll never regret it.
    Really? I did contact BF and was told that the bike sizing is equivalent to the sizing of a road bike. So, if I ride a 56 cm road bike, I should ride a 56 cm BF. How have people's experiences been with the ride quality and durability of the BFs? Good, I presume?
    Rivendell Sam Hillborne and Hunqapillar; Brompton M6R Sage Green; Salsa Mukluk 3 FAT Bike; Nerdy Academic; Nikonian; Wing Chun; and a Patridge in a Pear Tree.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by smallwheeler View Post
    Bike Friday. you'll never regret it.
    i agree. :-)

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ozonation View Post
    Really? I did contact BF and was told that the bike sizing is equivalent to the sizing of a road bike. So, if I ride a 56 cm road bike, I should ride a 56 cm BF. How have people's experiences been with the ride quality and durability of the BFs? Good, I presume?
    Mine is a pretty early model - I bought it in '94. Ride quality has been good - feels very similar to my 700c road bikes but I have slightly wider tires on the BF. I use mine both for day trips and for loaded tours. Mine did develop a crack in the rear triangle years ago so my experience on durability is mixed. Warranty service was excellent. I called their 800 number on Thanksgiving afternoon expecting to leave a message but they had someone there to answer and I had my bike back with a new rear triangle about a week later (BF paid for FedEx shipping both ways and transferred components over).

  6. #6
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Bike friday uses top tube length as the primary sizing match... a 56 is medium .. of 8.
    a typical level top tube road bike frame in a 56 seat tube length often is square , it also has a 56 long top tube ..

    on my 56cm RB1, its 565mm.. My pocket Llama is a medium ..

  7. #7
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ozonation View Post
    Really? I did contact BF and was told that the bike sizing is equivalent to the sizing of a road bike. So, if I ride a 56 cm road bike, I should ride a 56 cm BF. How have people's experiences been with the ride quality and durability of the BFs? Good, I presume?
    Just based on anecdotes, most people seem to think that their durability and ride are both pretty good. My experience is that their customer support after purchasing new or used is also quite good.

    Since you mention a rear rack earlier, Bike Fridays and small wheel bikes in general -- although it is physically possible to make a high trail small wheel bike -- are low trail bikes that handle front loads better. Even when I was doing club rides, I'd put a handlebar bag on the front and lose the saddle bag.

  8. #8
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ozonation View Post
    2. Used Bike Friday (New World Tourist). 20" wheels; standard bike parts; seems most forgiving ride. However, still most expensive option even when used, and none available locally to check out.
    Although it seems to be getting somewhat better, my rough take is the the market is pretty soft at the moment for used bikes. Especially for travel bikes like Bike Fridays which are often second bikes for folks.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Ozonation's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by prathmann View Post
    Mine is a pretty early model - I bought it in '94. Ride quality has been good - feels very similar to my 700c road bikes but I have slightly wider tires on the BF. I use mine both for day trips and for loaded tours. Mine did develop a crack in the rear triangle years ago so my experience on durability is mixed. Warranty service was excellent. I called their 800 number on Thanksgiving afternoon expecting to leave a message but they had someone there to answer and I had my bike back with a new rear triangle about a week later (BF paid for FedEx shipping both ways and transferred components over).
    Great to hear, but the model I'm looking at is used, and I would not be the original owner, so I wouldn't be eligible for any warranty work.

    Quote Originally Posted by invisiblehand View Post
    Just based on anecdotes, most people seem to think that their durability and ride are both pretty good. My experience is that their customer support after purchasing new or used is also quite good.
    I have to say... BF was very helpful on the phone when I asked about specs on their older bikes. All you need is the serial number and they can give you a rough idea if the build would meet your needs.

    Quote Originally Posted by invisiblehand View Post
    Although it seems to be getting somewhat better, my rough take is the the market is pretty soft at the moment for used bikes. Especially for travel bikes like Bike Fridays which are often second bikes for folks.
    Of all the options, I'm considering... the Dahon Silvertip would be about $800, the Dahon Jack or Tern Joe about $800 to $900, and the used BF is over $1000, plus the BF is the only one without any warranty or exchange option.

    Right now, I've tried to contact the current owner of the BF to get more information because I want to clarify the size, etc., but I haven't had any response so I might be able to pursue the BF.
    Rivendell Sam Hillborne and Hunqapillar; Brompton M6R Sage Green; Salsa Mukluk 3 FAT Bike; Nerdy Academic; Nikonian; Wing Chun; and a Patridge in a Pear Tree.

  10. #10
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    If you buy one of the Bike Fridays used from them it will have a warranty. BF has a preowned program and will trade their bikes back in. Call and ask what the have preowned. That is how I bought my Pocket Rocket in 1995 and they still do it. Roger

  11. #11
    Senior Member smallwheeler's Avatar
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    i'm not sure i really understand the debate. is it about the $200?

    let's see -

    mass-produced aluminum bikes with integrated headsets that have a realistic life of maybe 3-5 years of light-medium use and begin to depreciate as soon you've swiped your credit card v.s. a handmade all true temp steel bike made in north america that uses standard parts and is backed by excellent customer service whether you have a warranty or not. the only problem you're likely to have with a bike friday is deciding which of your kids to leave it to in your will.
    Last edited by smallwheeler; 07-30-14 at 06:11 PM.

  12. #12
    Senior Member alhedges's Avatar
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    Bike camping 005.JPG

    Here's my BF in bike camping mode.

    I'm just sayin'...

  13. #13
    Senior Member Ozonation's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rhenning View Post
    If you buy one of the Bike Fridays used from them it will have a warranty. BF has a preowned program and will trade their bikes back in. Call and ask what the have preowned. That is how I bought my Pocket Rocket in 1995 and they still do it. Roger
    The one I'm looking would be a private sale, not through BF's preowned option. So, BF told me "no warranty".

    Quote Originally Posted by smallwheeler View Post
    i'm not sure i really understand the debate. is it about the $200?

    let's see -

    mass-produced aluminum bikes with integrated headsets that have a realistic life of maybe 3-5 years of light-medium use and begin to depreciate as soon you've swiped your credit card v.s. a handmade all true temp steel bike made in north america that uses standard parts and is backed by excellent customer service whether you have a warranty or not. the only problem you're likely to have with a bike friday is deciding which of your kids to leave it to in your will.
    I guess I have to honest with myself... I'm just being picky and suffering from N+1. I got it into my head when I started biking to work again in the spring and after I visited Halifax with my Brompton that there are some realistic limitations to what the Brompton can do.

    Lately though, there's been a few other considerations, such as a number of higher end urban bikes have been stolen in my city. Urban, city style bikes are gaining ground here, and my Rivendells would be prime targets. Ironically, this probably argues for the foldability of my Brompton; at the same time, I'm running more errands after work across town, so riding my "big" bike is more comfortable and lets me to haul more. I figured maybe I should just get a beater bike for the short rides. Of course, such a bike is unlikely to give me as much comfort as my current bikes, and it wouldn't fold at all.

    So, I'm trying to balance "some" foldability vs overall rideability; that's why I was thinking about the Dahon Jack. And I'm thinking the Silvertip's more traditional diamond design gives me more stiffness.

    Of course... I can certainly make do with what I have... naw... just go with N+1, eh?
    Rivendell Sam Hillborne and Hunqapillar; Brompton M6R Sage Green; Salsa Mukluk 3 FAT Bike; Nerdy Academic; Nikonian; Wing Chun; and a Patridge in a Pear Tree.

  14. #14
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    Sorry I am chiming in a little late but I have a Silvertip and it is a great little bike that for some reason has no defenders here. I've had mine for a little over 3 years now and it was my primary ride for the first 2 years I put a fair number of miles on it and I can say that it is not near the end of its lifespan by a long shot. Although that could only be because of the superb care I took with it , well I never left it outside over night at least. The frame is fantasticly rigid for a folder, i had thought mine creaked in the lockjaws but it was in fact its square taper cranks. Its a good solid little bike well worth the cost of admission if you can find one.
    On the other side of the coin I can say that the others here have a point, I personally don't care for aluminum frames but all frames can crack if flawed or pushed too far. The bike does have a couple of annoying proprietary parts ie the NVO stem, the 74mm front hub which I could do without, and the lockjaw hinge components but that's it for special parts on the Silvertip. I also personally don't care for the radial spoke lacing on the front and half of the rear wheels, someday I will fix that on mine.
    I would say that IF you can find a used bike friday that meets your needs in your price range jump on it, you will most likely not regret it (I'm assuming, never rode one but those who have think they roll on the surface of water like a jesus bike). I would say test ride your choice first but that is probably not possible with the BF.

  15. #15
    Senior Member bhkyte's Avatar
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    I was very impressed with the tern 2o" with dualdrive. I had a go on one last year.
    Luggage racks available and standard parts for 500 to 600 new. Get a spare set of fast wheels with kojacks on in 8 speed also and it's a bike that can fit many circumstances. A tad heavy is only downside according to the owner.
    Dual drive Mezzo (GOLD), Dual Drive Mezzo with bullbars (black), White Brompton thingy with Dahon Androes stem and bull bars. Birdie (old sytle) 7 speed. Downtube NS8. Birdie red.

  16. #16
    Nobody mconlonx's Avatar
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    Considering your situation and the fact that you already have a Brompton, I'd be looking at the Silvertip and the BF, and if the BF fell through for whatever reason, I'd pick up the Silvertip in a heartbeat, no regrets.

    You already have a bike you can travel with, so unless you'd rather have a bike that was a bit better than the Brompton at point of destination, you just don't need the packability of the BF.

    However, you've obviously drunk the KoolAid regarding Brompton (i.e. you bought one...), so you may be better off with the more cultish BF -- seems like Brompton KoolAid drinkers vie in regard to product evangelizing nearly as much as Brompton owners.

    And to be absolutely no help regarding this whole N+1 exercise, if I was arguing in my head about BF vs. Silvertip, the Xootr Swift would be in the running as well, not to mention Montague folders, when considering the other 26" folders you mentioned...

    Good luck. The chase and dreaming about a new bike, especially daydreaming spec comparisons, is a critical and enjoyable part of the process...
    I know next to nothing. I am frequently wrong.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Ozonation's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mconlonx View Post
    Considering your situation and the fact that you already have a Brompton, I'd be looking at the Silvertip and the BF, and if the BF fell through for whatever reason, I'd pick up the Silvertip in a heartbeat, no regrets.

    You already have a bike you can travel with, so unless you'd rather have a bike that was a bit better than the Brompton at point of destination, you just don't need the packability of the BF.

    However, you've obviously drunk the KoolAid regarding Brompton (i.e. you bought one...), so you may be better off with the more cultish BF -- seems like Brompton KoolAid drinkers vie in regard to product evangelizing nearly as much as Brompton owners.

    And to be absolutely no help regarding this whole N+1 exercise, if I was arguing in my head about BF vs. Silvertip, the Xootr Swift would be in the running as well, not to mention Montague folders, when considering the other 26" folders you mentioned...

    Good luck. The chase and dreaming about a new bike, especially daydreaming spec comparisons, is a critical and enjoyable part of the process...
    Thanks a lot. Actually, I looked into the Xootr as well. And the Montague. Sigh.

    Yeah... I guess the "dream" is more enticing than the actual purchase!

    I'm thinking that the BF might fall through: no response from the seller despite a few attempts now.
    Rivendell Sam Hillborne and Hunqapillar; Brompton M6R Sage Green; Salsa Mukluk 3 FAT Bike; Nerdy Academic; Nikonian; Wing Chun; and a Patridge in a Pear Tree.

  18. #18
    Senior Member
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    One point on the positives with Silvertip I forgot to mention. If you care, the bike is actually quite lite, with the stock wheels+tires still on it I droped mine to like 21lbs by switching out the seatpost and seat and pulling off the front derailleur (I prefer 1X drivetrains) and changing the pedals and headset (stock headset used suprizingly heavy steel cups and no cartridge bearings I went with a cane creek) I dont care about weight I just wanted to customize so the lightness was a perk until I put on a pair of hookworm tires and now its just under the stock weight.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Ozonation's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thugpipe View Post
    One point on the positives with Silvertip I forgot to mention. If you care, the bike is actually quite lite, with the stock wheels+tires still on it I droped mine to like 21lbs by switching out the seatpost and seat and pulling off the front derailleur (I prefer 1X drivetrains) and changing the pedals and headset (stock headset used suprizingly heavy steel cups and no cartridge bearings I went with a cane creek) I dont care about weight I just wanted to customize so the lightness was a perk until I put on a pair of hookworm tires and now its just under the stock weight.
    Thanks... I'd probably put on Big Apples given that the roads here are awful.

    By the way... I saw a used Origins 8 Bully for sale on eBay... and then it disappeared.
    Rivendell Sam Hillborne and Hunqapillar; Brompton M6R Sage Green; Salsa Mukluk 3 FAT Bike; Nerdy Academic; Nikonian; Wing Chun; and a Patridge in a Pear Tree.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Ozonation's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mconlonx View Post
    And to be absolutely no help regarding this whole N+1 exercise, if I was arguing in my head about BF vs. Silvertip, the Xootr Swift would be in the running as well, not to mention Montague folders, when considering the other 26" folders you mentioned...
    Actually, you bring up another point with your reference to the Xootr and particularly the Montague that I almost forgot about... my parents and inlaws live in interior BC, and one day - who knows when - I'd like to try some of the rails-to-trails and maybe some of the lighter duty trails around. I only visit once every year or two, so buying a bike and leaving it there would be a bit of a waste. About year-and-a-half ago, I asked on this forum about portable MTB style bikes.

    So, based on that, the Montague or Jack came up as potential bikes. One forum member (in the UK I think) gave some pretty good examples about how she used her Jack on a lot of travels and gravel roads.
    Rivendell Sam Hillborne and Hunqapillar; Brompton M6R Sage Green; Salsa Mukluk 3 FAT Bike; Nerdy Academic; Nikonian; Wing Chun; and a Patridge in a Pear Tree.

  21. #21
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ozonation View Post
    Thanks... I'd probably put on Big Apples given that the roads here are awful.

    By the way... I saw a used Origins 8 Bully for sale on eBay... and then it disappeared.
    well the big apples would be a bit lighter than the hookworms which are over 700 grams a piece . sucks about the bully, I do love mine (as I am sure you know by now) I saw one on ebay a few months back,maybe last year, and mentioned it on the forums, was hoping someone here got it but who knows.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ozonation View Post
    Actually, you bring up another point with your reference to the Xootr and particularly the Montague that I almost forgot about... my parents and inlaws live in interior BC, and one day - who knows when - I'd like to try some of the rails-to-trails and maybe some of the lighter duty trails around. I only visit once every year or two, so buying a bike and leaving it there would be a bit of a waste. About year-and-a-half ago, I asked on this forum about portable MTB style bikes.

    So, based on that, the Montague or Jack came up as potential bikes. One forum member (in the UK I think) gave some pretty good examples about how she used her Jack on a lot of travels and gravel roads.
    I have been harboring a desire to build up another set of wheels for the bullly with some knobby bmx tires and get a pair of mtb cranks to swap in for some off road mini-mtb action but I don't know how feasible that would be in practice, maybe I will just try to import a Kuwahara GAAP some time in the future.

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